Campaigners call for Cumnor Hill home to be protected

thisisoxfordshire: An aerial view of Larkbeare in Cumnor Hill An aerial view of Larkbeare in Cumnor Hill

A BID has been made to give legal protection to a celebrated Cumnor house which could be flattened for homes.

A member of the public has applied to have Larkbeare at 85 Cumnor Hill listed by English Heritage.

This would mean stricter criteria would have to be applied when councillors decide on plans to knock it down for 21 houses.

It comes as preservation groups urge Vale of White Horse District Council to reject the scheme, which would remove 200 trees.

The 1907 five-bed house was designed by architect Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis – famed for the Italianate village of Portmeirion in north Wales – and stands in a large plot of land.

English Heritage spokesman Renee Fok said it would be advising the Government about the bid next month.

She added: “We have visited the site for an assessment and are currently consulting the relevant parties.”

Oxford Preservation Trust director Debbie Dance said the house is “one of Cumnor Hill’s most historically significant buildings” and new homes would jar with surrounding spacious plots.

She told the council demolishing it would be an “irreversible loss of a significant building and historical asset”.

Related links

The Victorian Society’s James Hughes said: “We strongly object to the demolition of a very good building by one of the early twentieth century’s leading architectural lights.”

He said the home was commissioned by Anne Wynne Thackeray, the great-niece of poet William Makepeace Thackeray. Guests she entertained there included composers Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

The Oxfordshire and Architectural and Historical Society said there is a “very good argument” to give it Grade II listed status as the home is of “considerable architectural significance”.

Cumnor Parish Council also objected, saying the house is of “very considerable and historic merit” and raised concerns new homes could worsen the flood risk. Thames Water has dismissed this.

Portmeirion was used as the location for cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner.

Bewley Homes land director Andrew Brooks branded the house “mediocre”.

He told the Oxford Mail: “I believe the request for listing isn’t so much on the basis of the quality of the property and more on the basis of who the architect was.”

Fifteen of the proposed homes would be three to five bedrooms while eight would be affordable.

Mr Brook said: “There is a large demand for both affordable and private housing, especially in the area but even more so in the Vale.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:39pm Fri 10 Aug 12

Josephi says...

Sounds like a 'Not in my backyard' also known as a Nimby. After all, those with houses on Cumnor Hill don't have a vested interest in keeping the area exclusive do they? Must ensure the plebs aren't allowed to be housed next door to me . . .. Homeless. What homeless?
Sounds like a 'Not in my backyard' also known as a Nimby. After all, those with houses on Cumnor Hill don't have a vested interest in keeping the area exclusive do they? Must ensure the plebs aren't allowed to be housed next door to me . . .. Homeless. What homeless? Josephi

2:12am Sat 11 Aug 12

Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St says...

The Victorian Society’s James Hughes said: “We strongly object to the demolition of a very good building by one of the early twentieth century’s leading architectural lights.”

What has the house got to so with him? It is Edwardian, not Victorian. I wonder if Jimmy lives in the area.
The Victorian Society’s James Hughes said: “We strongly object to the demolition of a very good building by one of the early twentieth century’s leading architectural lights.” What has the house got to so with him? It is Edwardian, not Victorian. I wonder if Jimmy lives in the area. Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St

6:09am Sat 11 Aug 12

Myron Blatz says...

In these uncertain times where neither jobs or incomes can provide the long-term security which banks and building societies require to get a mortgage (especially after the 3 and 5 times income fiasco before the recession) what thousands and thousands of young and people of any age need in Oxford need isn't yet more 'affordable' housing in so-called 'exclusive post-code' areas of Oxford to keep the over-bloated private sector housing market afloat, but well-controlled affordable accomodation to rent - preferably council-owned housing with proper secure tenancy. This item isn't about Oxford's architectural heritage or nimbys, but about greed-driven developers, and local authorities who often appear more interested in getting revenue to spend on dubious projects, whilst cutting-back on essential services for the people in our communities whose needs are greatest.
In these uncertain times where neither jobs or incomes can provide the long-term security which banks and building societies require to get a mortgage (especially after the 3 and 5 times income fiasco before the recession) what thousands and thousands of young and people of any age need in Oxford need isn't yet more 'affordable' housing in so-called 'exclusive post-code' areas of Oxford to keep the over-bloated private sector housing market afloat, but well-controlled affordable accomodation to rent - preferably council-owned housing with proper secure tenancy. This item isn't about Oxford's architectural heritage or nimbys, but about greed-driven developers, and local authorities who often appear more interested in getting revenue to spend on dubious projects, whilst cutting-back on essential services for the people in our communities whose needs are greatest. Myron Blatz

6:56am Sat 11 Aug 12

xjohnx says...

A clear case of Nimbys grasping at straws.
Knock it down and move on.

P.S. Whats wrong with developing property? Almost every house in the country was planned and built by a developer. Where does 'greedy' come from.
A clear case of Nimbys grasping at straws. Knock it down and move on. P.S. Whats wrong with developing property? Almost every house in the country was planned and built by a developer. Where does 'greedy' come from. xjohnx

9:10am Sat 11 Aug 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
In these uncertain times where neither jobs or incomes can provide the long-term security which banks and building societies require to get a mortgage (especially after the 3 and 5 times income fiasco before the recession) what thousands and thousands of young and people of any age need in Oxford need isn't yet more 'affordable' housing in so-called 'exclusive post-code' areas of Oxford to keep the over-bloated private sector housing market afloat, but well-controlled affordable accomodation to rent - preferably council-owned housing with proper secure tenancy. This item isn't about Oxford's architectural heritage or nimbys, but about greed-driven developers, and local authorities who often appear more interested in getting revenue to spend on dubious projects, whilst cutting-back on essential services for the people in our communities whose needs are greatest.
A 3 or 5 times salary mortgage is perfectly serviceable by the average person.

Who wants to live in council owned housing when you could find someone "vulnerable" ie addict is moved in through the wall from you?

If the Victorian Society really *love* this house, have them pay for it to be dismantled and moved to Portmeiron.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: In these uncertain times where neither jobs or incomes can provide the long-term security which banks and building societies require to get a mortgage (especially after the 3 and 5 times income fiasco before the recession) what thousands and thousands of young and people of any age need in Oxford need isn't yet more 'affordable' housing in so-called 'exclusive post-code' areas of Oxford to keep the over-bloated private sector housing market afloat, but well-controlled affordable accomodation to rent - preferably council-owned housing with proper secure tenancy. This item isn't about Oxford's architectural heritage or nimbys, but about greed-driven developers, and local authorities who often appear more interested in getting revenue to spend on dubious projects, whilst cutting-back on essential services for the people in our communities whose needs are greatest.[/p][/quote]A 3 or 5 times salary mortgage is perfectly serviceable by the average person. Who wants to live in council owned housing when you could find someone "vulnerable" ie addict is moved in through the wall from you? If the Victorian Society really *love* this house, have them pay for it to be dismantled and moved to Portmeiron. Andrew:Oxford

10:05am Sat 11 Aug 12

Myron Blatz says...

Quite right 'Andrew' - nothing wrong in supposedly socially responsible institutions like governments and banks to encourage people to over-extend themselves financially, on the gamble that the value of their housing will always keep on increasing with every throw of the property roulette wheel - and then re-possess when values slump and mortgage owners get made redundant. Similar to how governments and banks encourage students to take out loans, so that most of them will start their working life saddled with debt. Still, we live in a democratic society, don't we? If some people aspire to living in over-priced 'exclusive' middle-class post-code ghettoes, then you could be right - or at least Tory.
Quite right 'Andrew' - nothing wrong in supposedly socially responsible institutions like governments and banks to encourage people to over-extend themselves financially, on the gamble that the value of their housing will always keep on increasing with every throw of the property roulette wheel - and then re-possess when values slump and mortgage owners get made redundant. Similar to how governments and banks encourage students to take out loans, so that most of them will start their working life saddled with debt. Still, we live in a democratic society, don't we? If some people aspire to living in over-priced 'exclusive' middle-class post-code ghettoes, then you could be right - or at least Tory. Myron Blatz

10:37am Sat 11 Aug 12

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

Quite correct, Myron. Many people could afford to finance loans of 3-5 times earnings at today's very low interest rates of around 5%. However remember what has happened in the past when interest rates have shot up to as high as 15%. That is when the repossesions shot up and people lost their homes and lenders lost their security.
More affordable homes are needed with past governments permitting virtually unlimited immigration so that the population has shot up over the past 10 years. Why doesn't the government do as was done in the past and let local authorities buy up the homes that builders cannot sell because of the lack of capital finance. In the 1970's Oxford City Council bought hundreds of such homes at Kidlington and Radley for letting. They proved to be a very good long term investments when later many were sold off at higher prices (even with Maggies' enormous "right-to-buy" discounts. Much better than lowering VAT to try and stimulate growth that only succeeds in boosting imports of foreign built cars and TVs. etc. Builders could then start building more homes that are desperately needed and such construction helps create many more jobs in UK. However on second thoughts that might just bring in more polish plumbers to the country instead of providing jobs to british born folk.
Quite correct, Myron. Many people could afford to finance loans of 3-5 times earnings at today's very low interest rates of around 5%. However remember what has happened in the past when interest rates have shot up to as high as 15%. That is when the repossesions shot up and people lost their homes and lenders lost their security. More affordable homes are needed with past governments permitting virtually unlimited immigration so that the population has shot up over the past 10 years. Why doesn't the government do as was done in the past and let local authorities buy up the homes that builders cannot sell because of the lack of capital finance. In the 1970's Oxford City Council bought hundreds of such homes at Kidlington and Radley for letting. They proved to be a very good long term investments when later many were sold off at higher prices (even with Maggies' enormous "right-to-buy" discounts. Much better than lowering VAT to try and stimulate growth that only succeeds in boosting imports of foreign built cars and TVs. etc. Builders could then start building more homes that are desperately needed and such construction helps create many more jobs in UK. However on second thoughts that might just bring in more polish plumbers to the country instead of providing jobs to british born folk. West Oxon Webwatcher

2:58am Sun 12 Aug 12

Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St says...

West Oxon Webwatcher wrote:
Quite correct, Myron. Many people could afford to finance loans of 3-5 times earnings at today's very low interest rates of around 5%. However remember what has happened in the past when interest rates have shot up to as high as 15%. That is when the repossesions shot up and people lost their homes and lenders lost their security.
More affordable homes are needed with past governments permitting virtually unlimited immigration so that the population has shot up over the past 10 years. Why doesn't the government do as was done in the past and let local authorities buy up the homes that builders cannot sell because of the lack of capital finance. In the 1970's Oxford City Council bought hundreds of such homes at Kidlington and Radley for letting. They proved to be a very good long term investments when later many were sold off at higher prices (even with Maggies' enormous "right-to-buy" discounts. Much better than lowering VAT to try and stimulate growth that only succeeds in boosting imports of foreign built cars and TVs. etc. Builders could then start building more homes that are desperately needed and such construction helps create many more jobs in UK. However on second thoughts that might just bring in more polish plumbers to the country instead of providing jobs to british born folk.
ERR. 5 times the earnings on a salary of 20K = 100K what do you expect the average person to buy?
[quote][p][bold]West Oxon Webwatcher[/bold] wrote: Quite correct, Myron. Many people could afford to finance loans of 3-5 times earnings at today's very low interest rates of around 5%. However remember what has happened in the past when interest rates have shot up to as high as 15%. That is when the repossesions shot up and people lost their homes and lenders lost their security. More affordable homes are needed with past governments permitting virtually unlimited immigration so that the population has shot up over the past 10 years. Why doesn't the government do as was done in the past and let local authorities buy up the homes that builders cannot sell because of the lack of capital finance. In the 1970's Oxford City Council bought hundreds of such homes at Kidlington and Radley for letting. They proved to be a very good long term investments when later many were sold off at higher prices (even with Maggies' enormous "right-to-buy" discounts. Much better than lowering VAT to try and stimulate growth that only succeeds in boosting imports of foreign built cars and TVs. etc. Builders could then start building more homes that are desperately needed and such construction helps create many more jobs in UK. However on second thoughts that might just bring in more polish plumbers to the country instead of providing jobs to british born folk.[/p][/quote]ERR. 5 times the earnings on a salary of 20K = 100K what do you expect the average person to buy? Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree